Virtual Memorial Day ceremony held at Calverton National Cemetery
Calverton National Cemetery hosted a virtual Memorial Day ceremony to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
The event was closed to the public, but was streamed on News 12 Long Island's Facebook page.
Normally, there is an extended ceremony to honor those who have served our country with hundreds of people in attendance. However, in the wake of the coronavirus, there were no crowds in attendance due to social distancing.
"It's important that today's service went on despite the circumstances, and for people watching at home to know their loved one is not alone on this Memorial Day," says Rep. Lee Zeldin.
Dee McMahon spent her father's 81st birthday placing flags and flowers at his grave site at Calverton. Patrick McMahon, a commander in the Army and Suffolk police officer, died due to the coronavirus.
"We couldn't have a wake, we couldn't do anything normal, we couldn't dress him in his uniform, the uniform had to be laid on top of him in body bag," says Dee McMahon.
Officials say they normally lay 20 veterans to rest a day, but since the coronavirus pandemic began, that number has increased to about 50.
"The day he was buried, they had a large trench. They kept pulling up with truck loads of caskets and they just kept putting them in," says Dee McMahon. "It was awful, the worst thing ever."
Another thing missing was the lack of flags placed at every grave. For the past two decades, volunteers have performed the task at Calverton and Long Island National cemeteries, but were not allowed to this year.